Sunday, March 30, 2008

The fundamentalist Christian war on education

I don't know quite how I wound up on these idiots' mailing list, but I'm glad I did. It helps to understand what the proponents of the New Dark Ages want to reshape our culture into.

The folks behind Worldview Weekend, some kind of fundie pep rally for fear and ignorance, have sent out an email flogging a series of propaganda booklets aimed squarely at students whom they fear will actually be educated if they go to college. The idea is to innoculate their minds against anything that might threaten their precious fundamentalist teachings. In other words, keep the flock stupid so they'll keep filling the pews and the collection plates.

Education, clearly, is a detriment to blind faith, and so education itself must be tarred with such emotional hot-button words as "socialist," "communist," "humanist," and possibly several other fearmongering sobriquets I didn't catch.

A quick glance at the blurb for one of these booklets, revealingly titled Christian Worldview for Students (that's about as clear a title as you could come up with for something that's basically naked propaganda), shows us that the "Christian worldview" essentially involves rejecting anything any scientist ever thought up, as well as embracing the most extremist right-wing paranoia out there. Seriously, these are people who believe the Bush adminstration isn't xenophobic enough. Looking at the list below, you can see how these are views that would be eagerly embraced by the next generation of Eric Robert Rudolphs and Timothy McVeighs (and no, I don't think that's either a slippery slope or "appeal to consequences" fallacy).

Survival Kit for the University of Humanism

Glitzy brochures and slick websites that promote many of our universities don't divulge the all-encompassing secular worldview that slashes God from every equation and consumes ill-prepared students. But collegians today will face many of the:

  • 67% of professors who approve of homosexuality;
  • 84% who condone abortion;
  • 65% who embrace socialist and communist ideals.

The results of four years' exposure to these teachers are staggering. Recent research reveals that 91% of students from evangelical churches no longer believe in absolute moral truth. Even the Southern Baptist Convention found that 88% of young people from SBC homes slip away from the faith before they graduate from college.

The reason?

Most students say they did not learn enough Bible content growing up to enable them to make biblical life decisions, let alone defend a Christian worldview in the face of vicious opposition. This book provides worldview expert and best-selling author Brannon Howse's briefing notes to prepare you for the worldview battle that takes place at the university of humanism-whichever one you attend. You will be ready to contend and not bend on topics like:

  1. Why evil and injustice do not negate the reality of a good God;
  2. Why the Bible can be trusted;
  3. Why Darwinian evolution is a lie;
  4. The liberal myth of "separation of church and state";
  5. The authenticity of Jesus' resurrection;
  6. What the fossil record really reveals;
  7. The myth of global warming;
  8. How dramatically crime would increase if guns were outlawed;

And more!

So take Brannon's notes to heart-and mind. The Christian life you save may be your own!

Fear the hallowed halls of academe, Christian students! They want to make the Baby Jebus cry!

There's a reason fundamentalist students have a hard time defending their "Christian worldview" from "vicious opposition," which is fundie code for "enlightened and educated views". Ignorant beliefs cannot stand up to hard facts. I imagine what's so boo-scary for fundies to discover when they venture out of their shelters into the real world is that reality doesn't care what your pet ideology is.

And any Christian student who thinks booklets like these will arm them against reality is being cruelly misled. It's a pretty safe bet, I'd say, that anything these booklets have to say on the subject of evolution or global warming will be the same old moronic canards that have been debunked a thousand times over. Then again, maybe that's all part of the "Worldview Weekend" racket: a student buys one of these booklets; tries to get into an argument about evolution with his biology professor or his fellow students; crawls away in humiliation after having his ass handed to him; goes back to the "Worldview Weekend" website, where they're ready to sell him another booklet! Ca-ching! That's the benefit of having an entire customer base consisting of paranoid, superstitious chumps who've been indoctrinated to fear education itself. Get them to think you're the only ones they can trust, and they'll keep opening their wallets for you time and again.


  1. Damn - I wish I had the superior morals of these fine, upstanding Christians, so I could rake in the big money like these people. Damn my poor morality.

    I got a question for the moderators, why do I always have trouble posting here? If this goes through, this is my third attemot to post - even though I am logged in to google/blogger, it says "This blog does not allow anonymous comments". Seriously, WTF?

  2. I was attracted to the same sentence you focused on right after the quote:

    "Most students say they did not learn enough Bible content growing up to enable them to make biblical life decisions, let alone defend a Christian worldview in the face of vicious opposition.

    I wondered if "viscious" was a typo, and the author meant "valid"?

    What's funny is that in the Bible there is a lot written about how dark things cannot tolerate light. Generally this applies to hypocrisy or wrong-doing. People don't _like_ to have their dirty laundry exposed for all to see. This same idea, however, also applies to lies and truth. Truth has often been compared to light. In fact, we sometimes say, "the light of truth." The idea is that truth will expose a lie.

    Generally, I think this is true. Lies wither pretty quickly and thoroughly when confronted with truth. Christians make a big show of how truth will prevail.

    Truth should prevail. And, to me, what that means is that when you look at all the facts, the thing you believe will either be shown to be inaccordance with the facts, or it will be shown to conflict with the facts. And if it conflicts, it has been shown to be incorrect. A "lie," if you will. More appropriately, probably, a falsehood, a delusion or a misconception.

    What Christians consistently do is try to keep facts away from their children. They home school on a massive scale. They indoctrinate as hard as they can--trying to drill these ideas into the young. Why? If these ideas align with truth, reality and fact, what need is there to drill? Anyone should clearly see what is supported by reality, right?

    If I'm teaching my child what is true--in the sense of what can stand up to real scrutiny and what can be verified and supported by _all_ the facts (not just the ones I select for him or her to see), then what have I to fear from information?

    What I find particularly sad is that these poor kids are first told what "they believe" (which in itself is a confusing mess--who, outside of me, can tell me what "I" believe?). Then they're told why they believe it. And they're handed a "defense" of that belief.

    How convenient. Not only do these poor kids not have to every decide what they believe--they don't even have to ever think about WHY they "believe" it. If anyone asks, they can just refer that person to book-X or pamphlet-X. They don't need to understand it. Just memorize the defenses.

    That's the thing I appreciate most about my atheism. Nobody handed me a prefab belief with instructions on why and how I need to believe it. I spent a lot of time examing the world and comparing it to different ideas I felt should be considered. And, ultimately, I recognized I was an atheist. Atheism can be figured out purely on one's own--through observation, examination and verification. It doesn't require someone to give you secret information or a supernatural revelation from someone or something else.

    I just want to add that my husband recently got back from a brief trip to GA. While there, he brought me home a newspaper from the small town there. The paper is just the regular paper--but it reads like a church bulletin! What made me chuckle--more than all the other content--was a letter to the editor saying we need go no farther than Genesis "to learn" that god created the universe in six "literal" days--and it's all only about "6,000 years old." Secret revelation allows us to "learn" that. And it probably works out great for a believer, until they trip over a stalagtite.

    What do you expect your kids to do when they come up against facts that don't fit what mom and dad, and the Bible, are telling them? Of course they lose their faith--unless they're willing to accept lies into their belief system, what choice would they have?

    Rather than be freaked that the kid is rejected his faith--how about some applause for his/her character in valuing truth over falsehood? Surely that's worth being proud of?

  3. badger3k: No clue about the issues you're having with commenting, or why you're having them. Hopefully it's not a chronic problem. Sorry.

    tracie: What do you expect your kids to do when they come up against facts that don't fit what mom and dad, and the Bible, are telling them? Of course they lose their faith--unless they're willing to accept lies into their belief system, what choice would they have?

    Unfortunately, the emotional and psychological shackles of religion are hard to beat. In the war between valuing truth whether or not it reinforces what you've been taught to believe all your life, and the niggling fear that if you surrender those beliefs, you'll be tortured for eternity, most people are sufficiently weak to stick with the beliefs and throw truth under the bus. The evil of religion in a nutshell: that it would rather scare its followers into docile compliance than encourage knowledge and personal growth.

  4. Trip over a stalagmite.

    Unless they're walking on the ceiling. Another great comment by Tracieh. It's almost as if the religious know that their belief system is fragile and must be isolated in order to survive.

  5. the all-encompassing secular worldview that slashes God from every equation

    Yes, we must crush secularism, so we can teach children the proper equations! Like




    or, of course,


    I wonder how old these pamphlets are, and I wonder how long they'll distribute them. I've been thinking quite a bit about how some Christians seem to read everything the way they read the Bible, and I suspect this will be true of these pamphlets/books as well: regardless of what new information comes out about, for instance, Global Warming, these books and pamphlets will not be updated. It doesn't matter how old their books/pamphlets are, they are always as valid for the present as they always have been.

  6. How ironic. I'm sitting here with my SO watching an old episode of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" (albeit not on purpose) and one of the questions is: "Which of these is *not* generally considered a bad habit?" The correct answer was "reading" and I joked to her that to the fundies reading is often considered a bad habit because that book-learning can poison your mind.

    Now I stumble across this post and it only confirms exactly what I was saying to her. WTF is it with people who want nothing more than to bury their heads in the sand and remain utter morons? And why would they want to bother with colleges anyway, considering how evil they consider them? Oy!

  7. This was my favourite bit:

    How dramatically crime would increase if guns were outlawed;

    Jesus was a member of the NRA, apparently.


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